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Retail

More than 2100 jobs, 277 stores axed at GAME

More than 2100 jobs, 277 stores axed at GAME

Mon 26 Mar 2012 1:27pm GMT / 9:27am EDT / 6:27am PDT
Retail

PwC confirms job losses, 15 to go from head office

Update 

The GAME Group has shut 277 stores today and axed 2,104 jobs. 15 of those jobs were from the company's head office.

Administrator PwC confirmed the news today, adding that the remaining 333 stores will remain open and continue to trade.

"Our priority is to continue trading the business as normal while we continue to pursue a sale," said administrator Mike Jervis.

"The recent job losses are regrettable but will place the company in a stronger position while we explore opportunities to conclude a sale. My team and I will be doing all we can to help the affected employees at this difficult time."

In an interview with the BBC, Jervis said PwC "really do regret" the job cuts, but that staff would be paid for the entirety of March, and were helping by "making sure stores are closed in an orderly manner."

He said PwC had been reviewing the business for weeks, and while the cuts seem brutal, reflected the fact that, in terms of store numbers, GAME had "too many to make it viable" as a business. On the subject of gift cards, Jervis said the suspension of these credits was planned as a temporary measure.

"We're hoping that that gets brought back online once we sell the business, hopefully in a couple of days."

Original story

The Game Group administrator PwC has taken the retailer's websites offline and begun to close stores around the country.

Both game.co.uk and gamestation.co.uk are down, stating the PricewaterHouseCooopers is "currently reviewing and processing orders" placed on the websites with the promise of being back up and running shortly.

On Facebook GAME addressed its customers in an official statement, confirming that all gift cards, GAMEWallet funds and Game Reward cards were suspended. Stores also won't accept hardware or software for trade-in.

On Twitter people are sharing updates and photographs of their local stores, tracking the closures across the country. Jordan Hicks in Plymouth reported his GAME is closed and tweeted an image of a sign in the window directing customers to GameStation, while others have reported shutters coming down in Birmingham, Bath, Liverpool, York, Stafford and more.

The sad wave of closures follow statements from PwC that it is still hopeful to find a buyer.

"The group has faced serious cashflow and profit issues over the recent past. It also has suffered from high fixed costs, an ambitious international roll-out and fluctuating working capital requirements," said Mike Jervis, joint administrator.

"Despite these challenges, we believe that there is room for a specialist game retailer in the territories in which it operates, including its biggest one, the UK. As a result we are hopeful that a going concern sale of the business is achievable."

20 Comments

matthew bennion Web Development

32 33 1.0
Funny for Stafford to get a mention... our high street will look pretty empty at this rate!

Posted:2 years ago

#1

Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator

954 182 0.2
Good luck to all you guys affected.

Posted:2 years ago

#2
Here is hoping for some decent independant game specialist to spring up all over

Posted:2 years ago

#3

Chris Nash QA Engineer

47 23 0.5
Good luck to all the GAME frontline staff affected by this; it's a terrible time to lose one's job. Here's hoping that PwC find a buyer(s) quickly - and perhaps one who'll consider reopening some of the closed stores.

Posted:2 years ago

#4

Kevin Danaher Associate Producer, EA Mobile

45 62 1.4
Unfortunately for these people there's no way they'll reopen those stores. One of the main reasons they've be haemorrhaging so much money is the fixed costs of retail spaces.
Having two specialist game retailers within a few hundred meters of one another was never a winning strategy, originally they claimed they had two markets, family/casual and core gamers. The core gamers however have long since switched to on-line pre orders and dirt cheap supermarket deals. We don't care how we get our games we just love our games. Besides the staff in Gamestation were often clueless (majority, I know there were some serious game lovers out there who were more than willing to share their huge knowledge) so why would core gamers go in there?
This is believe it or not a good move, by selling the least profitable (probably duplicate) stores and holding onto their best assets they're becoming a much better proposition for sale soon, thus protecting many more jobs and also guaranteeing more footfall in the remaining stores.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Kevin Danaher on 26th March 2012 5:20pm

Posted:2 years ago

#5

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,584 1,438 0.9
*nods* The mass closures are what should've happened when the share-price was dropping a few months ago. It would've stemmed the financial losses, and showed investors that the management were serious about the future of the business. It totally sucks that so many people have lost their jobs (though I note only 15 from head office... Senior management/director's heads should roll for this, in a major way), but at least there's a chance for those still with the company.

Of course, all this is for naught if whoever picks up the pieces continues to run the company in the broken fashion that it's been run up til now. :/

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 26th March 2012 5:33pm

Posted:2 years ago

#6

Feargus Carroll Producer

23 18 0.8
@ Dr Chee

You think?

I seem to recall GAME (+ supermarkets) being blamed for the demise of the indies. Once gone, you won't get them back.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Feargus Carroll on 26th March 2012 5:57pm

Posted:2 years ago

#7

Ian Brown IT Developer / IT Infrastructure

107 26 0.2
Certainly a shame for the staff in these hard times. It was inevitable, i've only recently been buying games from them online due to them having free postage and getting it to me 99% of the time the day before release, which was a very nice bonus. I'll miss building my reward points up as I do have a tendency to buy quite a large number of games but other than that I'm not sad to see the company go as it's business model was very poor. Good luck to those affected though (and I mean the real workers not those at the top) in the future. Side note, I'm glad I spent my game points last week before this happened.

Posted:2 years ago

#8

Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game

1,254 421 0.3
It is a shame for the staff, but for months the have been in trouble, and saying closing stores was an option, but not doing it.

Posted:2 years ago

#9

Wayne Gibson UK Marketing Manager for GameKrib.com

69 8 0.1
They should reinvent themselves into the Forbidden Planet of the 'Gaming Specialist' world. Make stores more into Gaming experience centres. Focus on larger stores in busier High Streets which can hold more 'specialist' products from retro games to clothiing etc.

Get the product into peoples hands and give them value for their money. Have booths where customers can come in and try the games/systems/peripherals and give them on the spot incentives to purchase the product from you on the day. Encourage publishers to support promotions like '1/3 off EA all games if 3 or more purchased on the day'.

Match your online pricing to your instore and allow people to pick up orders online instore. Setup 18+ game areas where if you dont have ID then you cant enter that section and therefore if your underage you cant purchase those games. Leave it upto the parent to make the moral choice and not the store. Now I just need to win the lottery to get this idea up and running.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Wayne Gibson on 26th March 2012 7:19pm

Posted:2 years ago

#10

Stephen Richards Game Deisgner

68 28 0.4
No doubt this is terrible news for the thousands who've just lost their jobs, but it shouldn't have needed to happen like this. While the jobs of staff in the remaining stores are now moderately more secure, the consumer movement from specialist stores to supermarkets and online is still in progress.

Hopefully management will now have the courage to close loss-making stores more quickly, rather than keeping as many open as they can and forcing themselves into this kind of position again. The remaining stores may now get a temporary sales boost but in the long term Game's business model just isn't sustainable because the market it serves is shrinking. Instead of trying to grow the business, the best they can do now is gradually downsize it while staying as profitable as possible.

Posted:2 years ago

#11

Dominic Jakube Student

92 13 0.1
That sucks and I understand the dole in UK is bugger all.Last I heard it was like 129 quid a fortnight where as in Australia it works out to 330 quid a F/T.

Posted:2 years ago

#12

Private Industry

1,176 182 0.2
Hope all the people land on their feet.

Many stores they close now should never have been opened in the first place because there is no need for 2 stores in a radius of 50 meters. Gamestop is doing the same thing. Let`s see on the weekend if they closed any of the stores here in Dublin.

It`s also a bummer that right now loyalty points and gift cards are not valid until further notice.

Posted:2 years ago

#13

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,584 1,438 0.9
Further to my comment up there ^

It appears the Game on Sheffield High Street (apparently very profitable) is closed. Meanwhile, the 2 in the Meadowhall Shopping Centre are being kept open. Those 2 stores are within 2 minutes walk of each-other, and neither apparently has a large turnover. So, on the surface, it appears the administrators are keeping up the practice Game started - of having multiple stores close-by remaining open, all the while splitting profits between two stores, when it would make more financial sense to just have one open.

Good-o. :/

Also, staff told in an email to stop selling, take products out of the customer's hands, shoosh them out the shop and close up immediately. Also, staff weren't told to stop selling or promoting gift cards and rewards cards, even though head office knew that it was more-than-likely that the company would enter administration and not honour them. That really does leave a bitter taste in the mouth. Some staff would've been wise to what was going on, but others I think assumed that if the company were in trouble, they'd be told not to sell them. The staff truly are the last to know. :(

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 26th March 2012 9:11pm

Posted:2 years ago

#14
I believe a forbidden planet / meets games workshop independant type shops will have great appeal for a wide swathe of gamers seeing games, merchandise, friendly staff and those seeking to extend the experience of a games ip via more merchandise, tourneys, tie ins and such

Posted:2 years ago

#15

Stephen Wilson graphic/web designer

21 0 0.0
Its somewhat ironic that the end comes in the same week that the government finally close the loophole on online retailers shipping VAT free games in from Jersey, which could have helped Game be more competitive on price.

As an avid PC gamer I am sad to see the end coming for High St retail & boxed games, it seems the public are in the main willing to roll over & accept paying the same or even higher prices for downloaded games with no printing, shipping, retail costs attached.

Posted:2 years ago

#16

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,584 1,438 0.9
One of the rumours going around when digital distro was starting to gain a lot of ground was that some of the larger bricks-and-mortar chains (inclduing Game) put pressure on publishers to keep their digital prices roughly equal to their boxed-product RRP. I'm not sure how much to believe it, but after hearing about how Game pressured certain publishers, I'm willing to accept it. If that is the case, then Game closing could actually lead to cheaper digital games, as the publishers realise that they don't have to hold to the older pricing models.

Unlikely, but possible. :)

Posted:2 years ago

#17

Rachel Patterson Studying Graduate Entry Medicine, University of Nottingham

12 0 0.0
Although its terrible for the staff I'm glad GAME is dying. Their super evil corporate approach ruined Gamestation more and more while I was working there so that it just couldn't offer a really customer centred/gamer based service (for all the corporate targets and initiatives). Hopefully the staff can find jobs with a decent employer, and do better than having 4 hr contracts while the bosses take the piss! I do agree that in the current climate, both economic and having easy access to online orders/cheap supermarkets/cex/grainger there were too many stores overall, so this action is probably necessary.

Posted:2 years ago

#18

Jeff Wilson

46 0 0.0
Hopefully when the economy picks up we shall see more gaming stores open. Customers will pay extra when they have more free cash and not having to buy everything as cheap as possible on the internet due to the current economic climate.

Good luck to those finding work. I got some great advice from these guys when buying games from them and liked their enthusiasm for the industry.

Posted:2 years ago

#19

John Bye Senior Game Designer, Future Games of London

480 451 0.9
It sounds like they're keeping stores open from both their chains, which seems a mistake to me, unless they're hoping to rebrand and refit remaining Gamestations when they can afford it.

Gamestation has basically turned into a downmarket CEX, with dark dingy stores, mostly used stock, no clear labelling to let customers know what's new and what's used and (as with GAME) only a couple of pounds difference between the two anyway.

I really don't see how they have a future, whereas GAME is a much better known brand and (from the ones I've seen, at least) their stores are bigger, brighter, more welcoming and often better located, and (until their recent stock issues, anyway) had a reasonable range of (clearly marked) new games for sale (or at least, more titles than your average supermarket stocks).

Posted:2 years ago

#20

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